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    15 – I See Dead Fat People

    I See Dead Fat People


    By Tucker Burns

    RIVERDALE, N.Y. — Fat. Chunky. Portly. Big-boned. Husky. We rarely think twice about applying these adjectives to people with weight problems. And we never expect to apply them to ghosts.

    Last week, Susan and Paul Edwards encountered four overweight ghosts after they moved into their new, suburban house. A young, health-conscious couple, they had no idea what lurked inside their dream home.

    “I was working out, and my wife was boiling some water,” said Paul. “Suddenly, the weights started flying, and my wife was seared by a column of steam.”

    The paranormal activity was enough to convince Susan and Paul to move out. While understandably scared, they couldn’t have known that the ghosts weren’t out to haunt them. The ghosts were trying to tell them something.

    “When people enter a haunted house, they never try to understand what the ghosts are attempting to say. They just see freaky things and run,” said Chronicle photographer Wes Freewald. “Although these ghosts used a fax machine to order pizza, which is pretty freaky.”

    The source of the haunting was the gruesome deaths of four individuals. Before the house was a residence, it was used as a weight-loss clinic run by Dr. Emmanuel Fickas. Under his care, four of his patients died of suffocation while locked in the house’s steam room, located in the basement.

    For years, Dr. Fickas maintained that Royce Bickenburg, a particularly troubled patient, caused the tragedy. According to Fickas, Bickenburg intentionally locked himself and the three others in the steam room. However, over the course of our investigation, Royce appeared to Freewald in an attempt to clear his name.

    “I was seeing him everywhere,” said Freewald, who is now able to admit that he had a weight problem when he was younger. “He was trying to reach out to me. It would be nice if he could have written his message in steam or something, instead of trying to boil me in my shower, but a ghost’s gotta do what a ghost’s gotta do.”

    The message Bickenburg was trying to send: he and the others were actually killed by Dr. Fickas. This allegation is backed up by Bickenburg’s own journal, which was found buried in the backyard.

    The journal detailed the horrors of Dr. Fickas’s clinic, which included a brutal regimen of little food, forced exercise, and hours spent in the steam room sweating off excess weight.

    Fearing that the truth would be discovered, Dr. Fickas returned to the house, hoping to destroy any evidence, as well as Freewald and this reporter, who were on the verge of breaking the case. Dr. Fickas locked us in the steam room and tried to suffocate us. Luckily, we had a plus-sized guardian angel looking out for us.

    “I called Royce to get him to help, and my man came through,” Freewald said. “Pretty good for a guy who’s carrying a few extra pounds and has been dead for ten years.”

    Next, Royce and the other stocky spirits took aim at Dr. Fickas. Seeking vengeance, they began to stuff his face with food. Luckily, the ample apparitions rethought their search for revenge. Knowing that the truth would come out, the ghosts released their hold on this world, floated into the bright light of the refrigerator and ascended to the great buffet in the sky.

    However, some of the living are still having a hard time moving on. “I know they’ve left, but I still want to move out,” said Paul Edwards. “If the path to heaven is through my fridge, I’m afraid of what might be in my oven.”

    “I See Dead Fat People”

    Written by Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec
    Directed by Jay Tobias